December 27, 2012 - Anniversary of the opening of Radio City Music Hall

A long line of dancers called the Rockettes kicked high and danced in tight unison. The Flying Wallendas flew about on a trapeze. The famous dancer and choreographer Martha Graham did her thing, and actor Ray Bolger, who played the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, did his. Other acts, too, participated in the lavish opening show of Radio City Music Hall.

Billionaire John D. Rockefeller was building the Rockefeller Center in what had been a crummy part of Manhattan, and he decided to make a music hall the major attraction of the center. The theater, an Art Deco masterpiece with a 60-foot-wide and 100-foot-long stage, opened on this date in 1932, and thousands of people came to see the opening. (The theater has around 6,000 seats!)

It was, at the time, the largest indoor theater in the world.

The Rockettes do some nifty "wave" tricks
during their shows.
Apparently the variety show format was a bit of a flop—most of the acts seemed lost on that huge stage. Radio City Music Hall soon began to be used to show movies. However, large-scale stage shows are shown there, too, including the Rockettes in their famous Christmas spectacular. That show alone draws more than a million people every year.

Since opening night, Radio City Music Hall has entertained more than 300 million people!

And—guess what?—Radio City Music Hall STILL lays claim to being the largest indoor theater in the world!

Dabble in Art Deco

Find out what we mean by “Art Deco” at Fun Kids, and enjoy galleries of photos of Art Deco woodwork, glass, and architecture at DecoPix

Also on this date:


Kwanzaa (from 12/26/11 to 1/1/12)

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